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Today is September 26, 2020
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Ligawasan Marsh

Ligawasan Marsh

Address: SK Pendatun, Maguindanao

Description: A conglomeration of three marshes, namely, Ligawasan, Libungan, and Ebpanan, the Ligawasan Marsh is a premier but critical wetland ecosystem where a number of endangered endemic species can be found. Being a repository of abundant fauna and flora, natural gas and oil deposits, and other natural resources, the marsh is coveted and targeted for development.
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Status: Newly Opened

Site Profile Summary

Ecosystem Types

Freshwater / Terrestrial

Protection Status

Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary (Forestry Administrative Order No. 19)


288,000 hectares

Biogeographic Features

  • It is a premier and critical wetland ecosystem in the Philippines

  • Comprising 288,000 hectares, the marsh functions as the heart of the Cotobato-Agusan River Basin, catching water from its tributaries and pumping it to Illana Bay.

  • Surrounding the marsh is a forestland of 799 hectares and 299 hectares of swampy areas.


  • The Protected Area Sustainability Report of the DENR (2002) cites that the original flora have been altered to a large extent and that conversion of portions of the marshlands for agriculture is evident.
  • Apparently, very little is left of the original vegetation of the wetland areas from the Tamontaka Bridge to Ebpanan Proper where there are clear indications of considerable human encroachment and land use conversion for agriculture as evidenced by the cultivation of rice, ornamentals, and fruit and shade trees and the abundance of weeds associated with agricultural areas. 
  • Towards the mouth of the river that drains into Illana Bay, mangrove vegetation still exists. 
  • There is a relatively low endemism of 6% (12 out of 194 listed plant species endemic in the country) in the study site. No local endemic species or genera (i.e., found only in Ligawasan Marsh) was found among the flora.


  • It is home to a number of endangered endemics such as the Philippine duck (Anas luzonica) and the Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)

  • Ligawasan Marsh is also globally recognized as an Important Bird Area known to harbor congregatory bird species.

  • Endemic species of both volant (winged or flying) and non-volant mammals are also found here.

  • The marsh also supports at least 33 species of freshwater fishes, such as the economically important Cross-barred Grunt (Therapon cancellatus) or pigek, Mudfish (Ophicephalus striatus) or dalag, Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio), and Freshwater Catfish (Clarias macrocephalus) or katipa.

Livelihood Resources

  • Farming and fishing. Majority are small-scale fisherfolk though some large-scale fishers own pump boats and are themselves engaged in fish trading. Those living in the upper portion of the Marsh are engaged in farming, including swidden agriculture. 

Other Matters of Significance

  •  In the development of the Marsh, the provision of innovative institutional mechanisms deemed responsive to the specific needs of the area should be anchored on the planning and monitoring process as provided for by the Local Government Code; the NIPAS Act; IPRA; and the Wildlife Act can be used as bases for setting policy directions for the conservation and management of the resources of Ligawasan Marsh.


Biophysical Profile

Sociocultural Situation

These beliefs help in the conservation of the Marsh and its flora and fauna.

Economic Situation

Geopolitical Situation

FPE-funded Projects and Initiatives

Date Project  Amount Funded Proponent
2014 A Summit on the Future of Ligawasan Marsh: Sustainable Development and Environmental Conservation - Creating Roadmap for Multi-Stakeholders' Sustainable Development in Ligawasan Marsh PhP800,000 AL Qalam Institute of Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia
2013 Ligawasan Marsh Strategic Plan Review Workshop PhP275,000 Maguindanaon Development Foundation, Inc.
2012 Project Formulation and Development for Ligawasan Marsh to be Declared as Protected Area   PhP150,000 AL Qalam Institute of Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia
2008-2013 SK Pendatun Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development Project for Ligawasan Marsh PhP2,815,750 Maguindanaoan Development Foundation, Inc
2002-2006 Advocacy for the Conservation and Management of Ligawasan Marsh Towards Sustainable Development


Maguindanaoan Development Foundation, Inc (MDFI)



KALIKASAN BCSD Knowledge Series Twenty: Marshals of the Marsh (2014) 

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